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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rock Paper e-reader

i've been a book lover since i was wee.  my pap used to read to me on his lap, leaving out words so that i could fill them in.  i used to beg my dad for "just one more page/book" before bedtime.  i devoured judy blume and beverly cleary books when i was in grade school, graduating to the girls of canby hall and sweet valley high as a tween.  as a grown up, my reading tastes vary, but there's a good chance that if i'm not knitting i'm reading a book.

i haven't jumped onto the e-reader train yet.  for one thing, kindles and nooks are a bit expensive for me at the moment, and i'd really rather an iPad becos of its capabilities.  between my iPhone, iPod and macBook i have enough gadgets to play with.  but most of all, i just can't quit a paper book.

i have shelves and shelves of books.  my kids have shelves and shelves of books.  i enjoy looking at my books, their colorful spines and the stories they hide within their pages.  i love going to the library and finding books that tickle my fancy.  i remember the smell of the library in the town i grew up - a rich musty perfume.  can you get that smell from a kindle?  doubtful.  i love the feel of books.  the smooth pages, the slick covers, the dog ears.  one of my favorite books is an ancient copy of a tree grows in brooklyn that, while well used when i bought it second hand, is now crumbling to the point i had to buy a new copy of it (which, i should point out, cost 50 times what i spent on my beloved used copy).

an e-reader would make my life easier, no doubt.  i have stacks of books i want to read but can't find the time to do it.  imagine those stacks in one place!  and magazines - all in one place, don't have to recycle them.

i get one knitting magazine online.  i thought i'd be "green" in not getting the paper magazine anymore - easy to store patterns, no tearing them out and having different patterns share space in a file.  well, i forget to read that magazine now.  it's best to read on my computer, but i don't like turning pages via cursor.  when i try to print out patterns, i can only print one page - and i can't save the pdf.  reading the magazine on my phone is a PITA.  the subscription runs out in a couple of months - i think i'm going back to the paper magazine.

many knitters prefer their patterns on their e-readers.  i can understand why.  i have about a dozen projects requiring patterns, and it would be so easy to have them corralled in one location.  on the other hand, i'm constantly making notes on my paper patterns.  can you do that with an e-reader?  also, the few patterns i've used in my phone, the screen timed out after a few minutes.  most annoying when following a chart.  how does one do that?  can someone explain that to me?

this article in newsweek made me really think about books and their possible demise.  some people view e-readers as the wave of the future.  other's think e-readers and paper books can stand shoulder to shoulder.  others are like me - prefer paper to screen.

then there's the news that borders may file for bankruptcy.  am i at fault for this?  i buy many of my books from amazon becos it is cheaper.  i tried to find two books i wanted at my local walden's (a division of borders) a couple weeks ago but they didn't have them.  i found the books at barnes and noble on sunday.  books are expensive, they take up space, and sometimes, i just don't like the story.  would an e-reader make life easier for me?

i wonder what the future of books will be for my children.  as a youngster i looked forward to getting the scholastic papers and mom ordering me a few books each months, and i do the same for the boy now.  will book mobiles be around when petunia and freddie go to school?  will they have iPads (or their facsimiles) when they go to school, instead of paper and pencil and books and seat work?

i have this fear, that some day i won't be able to buy a book or magazine and will be forced to read online.  technology is growing so quickly, i can't keep up, and i'm afraid i'll be run over by those who prefer screen time to paper.  maybe someday, our world will resemble fahrenheit 451, except books won't be banned, the manner that they're read may be.  

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